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Research reproducibility means that another researcher, using the same survey questions and methods, should be able to achieve similar results. It’s a crucial concept in the world of surveys because it ensures that the methods, findings, and conclusions of a study can be verified and replicated by other researchers.

Think of research reproducibility as the secret ingredient that makes sure the recipe turns out the same way, no matter who’s in the kitchen.  It helps build trust in the results and allows others to build upon existing knowledge.

In this guide, we will explore survey research reproducibility, its importance, benefits, and how to achieve it.

The Components of Research Reproducibility in Surveys

The following are the key elements you need to achieve reproducible research findings in your surveys:

A. Reproducible Survey Design

Your survey design should be transparent and easy to understand for other researchers. Here are the things you need to focus on to create a reproducible survey design:

  • Clear and Well-Defined Research Objectives: Reproducibility starts with having crystal-clear goals. In your survey, you need to know exactly what you want to find out. Without this, others can’t follow your research path.
  • Survey Question Design: One of the most important parts of the survey is the questions. Ask questions ethically and clearly, so other researchers can do the same.
  • Sampling Techniques: Use sampling best practices to choose your survey participants. This will prevent biases in your results that could reduce your research reproducibility.

B. Reproducible Data Collection

You also need to clearly state your data collection process. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Survey Administration: Describe how you collected your data; for example, did you conduct a face-to-face interview or an online survey? Did you collect a single set of data, or did you collect the data from participants multiple times over a period? This information allows other researchers to closely replicate your research methodology and get the same results.
  • Data Gathering Tools and Technologies: Sharing the tools you use to collect your data also makes reproducing your results easier for other researchers. For example, if you use a survey tool that has conditional logic, another researcher using a survey tool that doesn’t have conditional logic would find it difficult to reproduce your survey results.

C. Reproducible Data Analysis

Mentioning  the tools and methods you used for analyzing your survey results also helps other researchers reproduce your findings, here’s how: 

  • Statistical Methods: Sharing the statistical methods you use to analyze your data helps other scientists have a better understanding of how to analyze their data. And, if they follow it 100% o, they will be able to replicate your results fairly easily, unless there is a mistake in their data.
  • Data Processing and Cleaning: You might have to clean up your data by handling missing data or survey fraud. Explain how you did this, so others can do it too.

D. Documentation and Transparency

Here’s how transparently reporting your research can help other researchers easily reproduce your survey findings:

  • Detailed Methodology Reports: Documenting every step and detail of your research, from how you created your survey to how you crunched the numbers provides a clear roadmap for researchers to follow to achieve your results.
  • Data Sharing and Availability: Imagine if a chef shared photos of their dish without the recipe, chances are you will find it difficult to replicate the dish regardless of how hard you recall the taste. Ensure you make your data available for others to see. When you do this, others can see exactly what you did, and that’s the heart of research reproducibility.

Challenges to Research Reproducibility in Surveys

While there are practices that facilitate research reproducibility in surveys, there are also several barriers that can significantly impede the reproducibility of surveys. Here are some of the common challenges to reproducing surveys:

  • Privacy and ethics: Survey researchers must keep their participants’ data private and avoid harming them. This can make it hard for them to disclose their research techniques and information.
  • Limited access to data: Copyright laws and privacy concerns can make it hard to access the original data that other researchers have collected. Using a GDPR-compliant survey tool eliminates this challenge by encrypting your 
  • Variability in survey administration: Surveys can be administered in different ways, such as online, in-person, or over the phone. The wording of questions and the order in which they are presented can also vary. This can make it difficult to compare the results of different surveys.
  • Data cleaning and transformation: Survey data often needs to be cleaned and transformed before it can be analyzed. This can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. It is important to document all data cleaning and transformation procedures so that other researchers can understand how the data was prepared and can replicate the analysis if desired.

Benefits of Research Reproducibility in Surveys

Here are some advantages to having reproducible survey findings:

  • Scientific Integrity and Credibility

When research is reproducible, it means that other researchers can verify the findings. This helps to ensure that the scientific literature is accurate and reliable.

For example, a medical scientist does a study that shows a new drug can help treat a certain condition. If other scientists replicate the same study and the results are reproducible, this makes the original study more credible and increases the chances of the drug being approved.

  • Facilitating Peer Review

Peer reviewers evaluate the methods and findings of a study to determine whether they are sound and credible. Reproducible research makes it easier for peer reviewers to do their job by providing them with access to the data and code used to generate the findings.

  • Building Trust in Survey Research

When survey research is reproducible, it means that the results are more likely to be accurate and reliable. This trust is essential for survey research to be used to inform public policy and decision-making.

For instance, let’s say a government agency is looking at a new policy. To get a better understanding of the public’s opinion on the policy, the agency will commission a survey. 

After several surveys, they found that the survey was reproducible. This will boost the agency’s confidence in its decisions based on the survey results.

  • Long-Term Research Impact

Reproducible survey research can be more easily built upon by other researchers. This can lead to the development of new theories and insights. Reproducible survey research can also be used to track changes in society over time.

Tools and Resources for Ensuring Reproducibility

Our top tool to help you reproduce your research is Formplus. Let’s discuss how you Formplus to effortlessly create reproducible surveys:

  • Survey Design Software

With survey tools like Formplus, you can effortlessly create engaging surveys by carefully designing your questions, and collecting and analyzing data. You can also securely store your form data, so you can use it for future research.

  • Data Analysis Tools:

You can use the Formplus analytics tools to see trends and patterns in your data. You can also use the Formplus Zapier integration to integrate advanced data analysis tools like SPSS and R to crunch the numbers and see trends or patterns in complex research.

  • Data Documentation Platforms

You can also use data documentation platforms like Zenodo, Figshare, and others to store and share your research data. These platforms allow you to share and store your research data so others can easily view and follow your work.

  • Best Practices and Guidelines 

Writing guidelines and best practices is like providing a simple manual other researchers can follow to reproduce your results. Guidelines provide clear guidance and documentation of your methods. Best practices help you recognize potential challenges and barriers in your research and suggest ways to overcome them. 

If other researchers study and carefully follow your best practices and guidelines, they will not have a hard time reproducing your survey findings.

Steps to Enhance Research Reproducibility in Surveys

Research reproducibility is the responsibility of researchers and platforms that publish their work. Here are some tips that will help both parties advance research reproducibility:

Tips for Researchers 

As a researcher, there are steps you can take to make your survey work more reproducible. For example, you can use standardized survey questions and clear data documentation. Also, sharing your data and research materials can help others follow in your footsteps.

Tips for Journals and Institutions

Journals and institutions play a role in enhancing research reproducibility too. They’re like the referees in a sports game, making sure everyone plays by the rules. 

For example, if journals require researchers to share their data and methods before they get published, most researchers would be motivated to do it.  Also, if institutions provide training on reproducibility practices, most researchers will have a rulebook to follow to ensure their research is reproducible.


Survey reproducibility allows you to review, identify, and correct any errors or biases in your or other researchers’ survey findings. This helps to ensure the integrity and the quality of the research so that it can be adopted as a valid and reliable research method.

Using reproducibility practices in your survey makes it more likely to be accurate, less likely to be biased, and makes survey research more transparent. Ensure you follow the tips and tools in this article so you can effortlessly create reproducible surveys.

  • Moradeke Owa
  • on 7 min read


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